Low Mileage Ain’t a Good Thing!

Often somebody tells me that they got a really good deal on an older car with really low mileage, or that they have a car they don’t drive much because they don’t want to put too much mileage on it.

The problem with this is that cars are made to be driven, and a low-mileage car is not a bargain in the real world. A customer told me once that they had gotten good money for a VW they had recently sold because of its low mileage.

What they didn’t tell the buyer was that the reason the mileage was so low was that it usually came home with a hook in its mouth; the only thing that was worn on the car was the back bumper because it got pushed so often.

In other words, an exceptionally low-mileage car is usually either a lemon or a garage queen.

Not moving is harder on a car than driving it; when a car sits, stuff rots and/or corrodes, gasoline turns into a smelly, sticky and nonflammable substance, rubber turns into either tar or Bakelite, rings rust onto the cylinder walls and into their grooves, etc., etc.

If you are taking a car out of storage, don’t just hook up a battery and try to start it.

You need to pull the spark plugs and pour oil down the cylinders and let it soak for a few days, and then wiggle the front pulley or fan (if it is a solid fan) gently to avoid broken rings and scratched cylinders; drain the fuel system, clean the tank and lines with fuel system cleaner, check as much as you can that things that are supposed to move actually can move freely.

If you are going to store a car, drain the fuel, slosh some heavy oil around it the tank, pour some oil down the cylinders and cover up everywhere you can that air might get into the engine.

Of course, don’t leave it with the weight on the tires, and do store it inside somewhere, covered.